Tag: quackery

It's generally not a good indication that their treatments work when doctors use the same hard sell techniques as used car salesmen.

The stem cell hard sell

There are, unfortunately, a lot of clinics in the US that offer stem cell therapies for indications ranging from heart disease to anti-aging to even autism without good evidence that these therapies are actually efficacious. Real stem cell scientist Paul Knoepfler attended an informational seminar on stem cell therapies offered by a major clinic. Not surprisingly, it was more marketing than informational....

/ August 22, 2016

Deconstructing Homeopathy Propaganda

The definition of “propaganda,” like so many things, is a bit fuzzy. The dictionary definition is: “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” There is no sharp demarcation line, however. Speech occurs on a spectrum from obsessively objective, fair, balanced, and scholarly at one end, to deliberately deceptive...

/ August 17, 2016
Unsinkable rubber duck

Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck

The publisher recently sent me a review copy of Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck, by Tony Robertson. My first thought was “Do we really need another book on this subject? Don’t I know all this stuff already?” I was very pleasantly surprised. Robertson has ferreted out an impressive array of facts and details that I wasn’t aware of; and yes, we...

/ August 16, 2016

Parabiosis – The Next Snakeoil

The pattern has repeated so many times that it is truly predictable. Scientists turn their eyes to one type of treatment that has theoretical potential. However, proper research from theory to proven treatment can take 10-20 years, if all goes well. Most such treatments will not work out – they will fail somewhere along the way from the petri dish to the...

/ August 3, 2016

Separating Fact from Fiction in Pediatric Medicine: Facial Nerve Palsy

There are numerous medical conditions that are seemingly designed to allow proponents of “irregular medicine” to proclaim their treatments to be effective. These conditions tend to be chronic and subjective in nature, or to have waxing and waning courses such that a parent or patient might easily be fooled into assigning a causal relationship between a bogus intervention and a clinical improvement....

/ July 29, 2016

Nobody licenses quacks in my state! HB 4531 and the licensing of naturopaths in Michigan

Over the years, I’ve taken care of women with locally advanced breast cancer so advanced that it’s eroded through the skin, forming huge, nasty ulcers filled with stinky dead cancer tissue that’s outgrown its blood supply, leaving the patient in chronic pain. If the patient is fortunate, her cancer has not metastasized beyond her axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under her...

/ May 16, 2016
Integrative medicine

“Integrative” medicine versus “alternative” medicine

I’ve written a lot about the language issue with respect to alternative medicine. As I like to put it (at least in shortened form), first there was quackery. Quacks did not like that name at all, and thus was born alternative medicine. And the quacks did think it good—for a while. There was a problem, however. “Alternative” medicine implied (correctly, of course)...

/ May 15, 2016
Three Stooges doctors

Functional medicine: The ultimate misnomer in the world of integrative medicine

Functional medicine. It sounds so...scientific and reasonable. It's anything but. In fact, functional medicine combines the worst features of conventional medicine with a heapin' helpin' of quackery.

/ April 11, 2016

What naturopaths say to each other when they think no one’s listening, part 2

When last I visited this topic, I started out by making a simple observation, namely by quoting John Wooden’s famous adage, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” What I was referring to was a private discussion forum for naturopaths known as Naturopathic Chat, or NatChat for short, and how a leak from...

/ February 22, 2016

When antivaccine pseudoscience isn’t enough, Bill Maher fawns over Charlie Sheen’s HIV quack

I know I must be getting older because of Friday nights. After a long, hard week (and, during grant season, in anticipation of a long, hard weekend of grant writing), it’s not infrequent that my wife and I order pizza, plant ourselves in front of the TV, and end up asleep before 10 or 11 PM. Usually, a few hours later, between...

/ February 1, 2016